eNTeNG loved these – Ricci Bejarin’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

11 12 2008
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It came from the Bejarin family of 'R' - Ronald, Ricci, Riana & Riley.

 

I consider my friend Ricci Bejarin an authority on most things baked.  Even before I got wind of her baking prowess, I have already held her in high regard because, for one, she introduced me to what I had ticked on my short list as probably the best ‘death-by-chocolate’ chocolate chip chocolate muffin there is (that’s a lot of chocolate to say in one breath… whew!).  Quite unexpectedly, it is something available commercially in a major store.  But I’m keeping mum about it for now until I get to buy a box, photograph it, and rave about it here.

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Now, back to Ricci.  Earlier today, she fulfilled a long time promise to give me my own canister of cookies from the batch she lovingly baked herself the night before.  When I found it on my desk upon my return from delivering a two-hour training class on product, product packaging, application and market competition overview to new engineers and technicians in our company, I couldn’t wipe off the smile on my face.

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A golden brown edge, chockful of chocolate chips, a crumbly texture - WHAT'S NOT TO LOVE?!

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Simply irresistible... From the first one I tried, I thought about snapping a shot of the perfectly textured delight. Yummy!

 

Holding the container in my hand, I felt like it was one of those moments when I had to accept the existence of temptation in my life – this time, Ricci Bejarin’s Chocolate Chip Cookies.  I declared it.  I accepted it.  And with a firm resolve, kept it at bay when I decided to save the cookies for later at home.  Besides, I forgot to bring my Canon Digital IXUS 860IS camera with me and I had to have first taken photos before I would have wanted to take the first bite.  Patience is a virtue, it’s true.  And once at home, I made sure the cookies got some sort of special treatment.  For them, I brought out my Lenox Temper-Ware®Freezer-to-Oven-to-Table-to-DishwasherSilhouette plate from a set of 12 that I got in the States.  The plate is in beige with an embossed design, in white, of a forest in the fall or winter, with birds hovering above in the horizon.  Writing this now, I realize that the plate’s stark design that denoted coldness was unintentionally the perfect counterpoint to the warmth personified by Ricci’s chocolate chip cookies.

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The cookies on my fall/winter-themed Lenox® plate, one from a set of 12 that I got in the States.

Which brings me to one point – I shall be talking about the warmth these cookies personified, as I experienced it.  I didn’t ask Ricci about the preference with which she made her chocolate chip cookies.  Was she going for a crispy outside with a chewy center?  Or did she want it soft, chewy and gooey through and through?  I wanted to get the whole shebang of it, without any words, just yet, that might influence how I would see the cookies.  I’m saying this because baking cookies to perfection is a matter of personal preference.  And of all the cookies out there, I don’t think there is any other that is more scrutinized, compared, or blunty judged than the chocolate chip.

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I broke off one cookie and thought about sharing how yummy the cross-section looked. I could've put vanilla ice cream in between the halves and it could've upped the experience a notch!

 

So here it goes.

 

The cookies had an enticing sheen to them, it was as if they had a special coating that held their shape and size in perfect form.  Instantly, I saw that they were substantially sized, signifying that the dough spread considerably during baking, but just enough to still allow for thick cookies.  I’m loving them already because I do prefer thick cookies.  Without having to take a bite or break them apart, I saw that they were loaded, chockful of chocolate chips (which I later reckon to be semi-sweet) – breathing life to their name.  I couldn’t help but notice that there were a few specks of granulated sugar on the surface (or were they kosher salt?) that gave off glints whenever their facets caught momentary flashes of light.  They were a pretty sight, apart from the fact that they gave the cookies another layer of texture as I chewed.  And yes, believe me, I sensed that layer of texture.  Whether it was deliberate, I’m not sure.  But I loved it!

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Piling them up one more time! The crumbly, chewy center was so hard to resist.

 

With my appetite whetted, I broke one in half, ready to munch the treat in just two counts.  But before I could put it in my mouth, I had to admire just how consistent the cookie crumb was.  There weren’t any lumps or any uneven finish.  And the chocolate chips were distributed well, each of them embraced by the perfectly baked, crumbly dough.  The cookie was moist, allowing for a nice chew.  It was kept moist just at the perfect point, without verging on being cake-like, which would have been disastrous for cookie purists.  And Ricci’s cookies’ moistness was a testament to how much she has probably ‘perfected’ her craft.  She showed good control of, of all things, her cookies’ baking time – a couple of minutes under, the cookies could have been annoyingly gooey; a couple of minutes over, they could have been pucks for ice hockey.

 

Once in my mouth, I tried to pick out each of the major components of a classic chocolate chip cookie.  Easiest, I definitely got the butter taste, tamed by the tinge of vanilla.  I let the flavors (sweet crumbs, sweeter with the chocolate chips) and textures (slightly crispy rim, chewy center, smooth and creamy chocolate chips) linger in my mouth.  And one thing I could tell for sure was that Ricci could have only used the freshest and the best ingredients, because only those can bring out a cookie that tasted so good.  There wasn’t any bitter aftertaste.  No discernable unfavorable aftertaste at all.  Definitely, the butter alone that she used could have only been the best.  It could have been French butter for all I know!

 

The cookies were sweet.  But that should be expected.  Besides, the intensity of the sweetness varied.  It was definitely more pronounced when there were chocolate chips with the bite I took.  If there was one thing that I struggled with, it would probably be that some of the five cookies in the canister, stuck together.  But I actually believe that the less-than-careful handling they had to sustain the whole day had more to do with it than anything intrinsic to the cookies.  I actually turned the cookies upside down and all I saw was a perfectly baked bottom – no unslightly discoloration; no tough crust formation.  All I saw was a nice crumb (again!) and a slightly golden brown rim.

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Helpless witnesses to the ‘ravages’ that just happened – the crumbs! Right after this photo was taken, I licked all of these off!

 

Suffice it to say, the cookies were heavenly.  That’s coming from the non-dessert person that I am.  And the ultimate testament would be the fact that I did not share them with anybody else.  And I do take pride in the fact that I’m a relatively generous person.

Oh well, there’s always a first time.

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6 responses

11 12 2008
ricci

enteng, the cookies stuck together because i probably stacked and packaged them together too early. they should have cooled a bit more.

i really went for the big cookie that spreads. i usually do a cakey thick cookie that only spread about 30%. i used half and half of the granulated sugar and the brown sugar. i normally use 100% brown sugar, which may result to a much too cakey consistency for most people’s taste.

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11 12 2008
entengvince

Ricci – I suspected too that they most likely didn’t have enough time to cool. Hence, they stuck to one another. But I definitely didn’t discount the settling effect of my lousy handling. UPS or DHL, hell even LBC won’t hire me for sure!

Thanks for your comment. Without you knowing, you answered the questions I have – on the sugar you used (using white or brown sugar only, or a combination of both results to a different cookie each time); and on the type of cookie you were gunning for.

But suffice it to say, your cookies passed with flying colors – and yes, “passed” is understating it. Yes, you are right this is a very “basic” cookie. But then again, it is in the basics that the true master is determined. Stripped of complications or embellishments, a simple work of edible art can make or break a baker, a chef, or a cook. For bakers, it has been often said that the chocolate chip cookie is the true test.

I look forward to sinking my teeth to more of your treats! You have a good thing going, Ricci!

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11 12 2008
eyes only

they look good when displayed…”taste” better when described… but are best when “stored” in our tummies…patikimin mo naman kami! hahaha! 🙂

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12 12 2008
Chax

Sayang, di ko rin natikman!

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14 12 2008
data

oh gosh. i miss baking. *sniff*

the cookies do look yummeh!

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3 01 2009
jErriE b.

You should try my own version of oatmeal cookie.

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